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Are Vegans And Vegetarians Fit For Hard Physical Labor?

Will Eating A Diet Of Plant Based Foods Cause You To Fail At Hard Physical Tasks?

Maybe your a vegetarian and you’re questioning whether or not you can do hard manual labor.  Maybe you’re just curious about vegans and vegetarians; Can a person really do physically demanding labor on a plant based diet?

I’m here to let you know, I’ve got the answers.  This article is not based on any scientific study.  It’s my own experience following a plant based diet since 1996.  That’s 17 years of experience at the time of this writing.

The quick answer to whether a person can endure hard physical labor as a vegetarian is a resounding YES!  Let me expand on this a little now.

During the 17 years I’ve been a vegetarian I’ve worked a variety of physically demanding jobs, and I’ve been back and forth between following a strict vegetarian diet (vegan), and a not so strict vegetarian diet.  The not so strict vegetarian diet involves me eating some cream, milk, cheese or yogurt; No eggs.

I worked many years as a bellman in a busy hotel carrying heavy bags all sorts of places.  I’ve also did deep tissue massage as my only job for periods of time.  I was even a hod carrier for my uncle’s mason business for a few months.

Hod carriers mix mortar, and haul it and bricks to the brick layers.  You have to keep a good pace so the brick layers can keep their work pace.  It gets you a good workout.

My most recent work in hard manual labor just ended last week.  I worked for a landscape designer.  During the 2 weeks I worked with him the temperature was consistently between 90 and 100 Fahrenheit.

We wheelbarrowed approximately 90,000 pounds of rock, and spread it out.  We wheelbarrowed and spread an additional 4 dump truck loads of mulch and dirt.

During this time, I ate almost exclusively fruit during the 8 hour days of work, and drank an average of more than a gallon of water every day while at work.

Here’s what’s great.  I never got one complaint that I wasn’t performing quickly enough; In fact, I was thanked more than a few times for my very hard work.

I’m not sharing this with you so you can say “Wow Sye!  You sure are amazing!”  I want you to know you can do whatever anyone else can do as a vegetarian, and do it well.  You might even be able to do your job better than the average hard worker that’s not a vegetarian.

I think it’s also important to state, I’m feeling a lot more healthy and physically fit after doing the landscaping job than I did before.  It didn’t break my body down and injure it; Doing the hard physical labor encouraged my body to build more muscle mass.  It also helped me to sweat a lot, which can be a very good thing if you’re putting more good stuff back into it.

It’s a good way to replace all your fluids with fresh fluids.  That’s why fruit and water during hard physical labor is so nice.  You get water, not only from drinking, but from the fruits as well.  The fruits have also have electrolyte minerals and plenty of vitamins.  Your body can digest them easy so you don’t end up feeling that after lunch sleepy feeling.

Contrary to some popular LOW Carbohydrate Diet Dogma you may have heard, carbohydrates are very good for you, especially when you are burning a lot of energy.  Your body’s primary fuel source is carbohydrates and fruit is an excellent source of that energy.

People can adjust to low carbohydrate diets, but at the expense of losing their explosive energy.  Explosive energy is what you need to do sprints or other intense exercises.

Should A Person Eat Fruits Alone When Doing Physically Demanding Work?

Fruits are a great source of energy and I especially like them for convenience and quick energy that’s easy for your body to digest.  I don’t think it’s good to rely exclusively on fruits however.  I eat a lot more fruit when I’m doing physically demanding work, but I also eat other good high carbohydrate whole foods.

After physically demanding work in the hot sun, I usually felt like having some more sweet liquid.  One good after work drink I really enjoy is the following.

Juice 1 whole grapefruit and 1 whole orange.
Throw the juice in a high powered blender like a Vitamix with a little filtered water.
Add 1 whole tray of Ice and 4-5 tablespoons of honey.
Blend until super smooth.

This will feel like the best drink of your life when you’re really thirsty on a warm day.

For dinner, after hard physical labor I usually have some cooked whole grains and/or beans, or some cooked vegetables with a little flax oil and some seasoning.  A nice heaping plate full is a good serving.  Add the flax oil to your food after it’s on your plate.

My breakfast every morning was a green smoothie with bananas and greens.  Don’t be shy about eating 4-5 bananas in your smoothie.  Most people don’t’ really understand how much calories they need and that’s why they think they can’t live on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Most people are used to eating a bunch of fat calories from various oils in their foods, and when they aren’t getting the calories from fat anymore, they need to replace them with a more healthful source of energy (carbohydrates).

As I always say, it’s not just any vegetarian/vegan diet that works; You’ve got to focus on eating a variety of plant based whole foods.  Those are the foods that cover most of your nutritional needs.

Tough Mudder As A VegetarianI’m the guy to the left in this picture.  Just finished a Tough Mudder with some Meat Eating Relatives.  Ask them if I can hang with them as a Vegetarian.  I’m So Hard!

Now you know that a plant based eater can perform well doing hard labor; and you’ve got a good outline of how to do it yourself.  I have a program I’m relaunching soon, called Sexy Fit.  It’s updated with what I’ve learned since I originally released it.  Be sure you’re signed up HERE to get my program free when it’s ready.  After launch it won’t be free anymore, so sign up now.

Learn About The Best Supplements For Vegans And Vegetarians!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Great to see and hear you Sye and good job in the Vid. Just wondering, do you supplement with anything or do you just rely on the Veggies for all your nutrients to include minerals? Many trace minerals are lost through your sweat and hard to replace through diet, so I was just wondering about your take. Clay

    • It’s true some minerals are hard to replace Clay. I don’t take many supplements on a regular basis but there are a few key supplements I do take, and I’m going to do a video about those soon. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

      I mostly rely on foods for all of my nutrients, and those foods are primarily fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. I also use some chlorella and spirulina here and there; They are very dense in minerals, including magnesium. I’ll also write about this in more detail soon.

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